Home News OpenAI Faces Shakeup After Board Fires CEO Sam Altman

OpenAI Faces Shakeup After Board Fires CEO Sam Altman

The removal of Sam Altman from OpenAI was followed by a series of resignations and lobbying from investors to bring him back.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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News of Sam Altman’s removal from his post as CEO of OpenAI and the appointment of the company’s chief technology officer (CTO), Mira Murati, as interim CEO, dominated headlines this weekend. The news came following a statement by the company, which claimed that Altman was not “consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” [1]

Altman’s removal came with news of the appointment of the company's CTO, Mira Murati, as interim CEO and the removal of president and board chair Greg Brockman from his position as chairman of the board. Brockman, who was to stay on in his role as president of OpenAI, subsequently resigned from the company, followed by a handful of top executives from the company. [2] 

The poster child of generative AI and the company behind large language model (LLM) chatbot ChatGPT, OpenAI is a privately held company that is valued at $80-90 bn. [2] ChatGPT created a buzz in the tech world when it was released in November of last year, spurring a flurry of activity in the next generation of tech -- AI.

A key investor in OpenAI, Microsoft was reportedly “blindsided” by Altman’s removal and has since been lobbying for his return, according to some sources. [3] Microsoft has invested bns in OpenAI and is considered its closest partner, although it does not have a seat on the board. Earlier this year, the company raised $10 bn in primary funding from Microsoft. [4] The company is also backed by Thrive Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Tiger Global, among others. 

OpenAI has a planned $86 bn employee share sale scheduled before the end of the year, which is being led by investor Thrive Capital. It is not clear if the share sale will proceed following the news of Altman’s ouster. [5]

Earlier this month, OpenAI held its first developer conference, setting off a flurry of activity in the AI world. OpenAI announced updates to ChatGPT, including a turbo version of GPT-4 large language model that can process the equivalent of almost 300 pages of text in a prompt. It also announced ChatGPT’s newest feature, which allows users to build customized ChatGPT applications from scratch and potentially sell apps they have built using the software to other users on its GPT store. [6]

Who is Sam Altman?

Altman is an American entrepreneur and investor who previously served as president of Silicon Valley accelerator, Y Combinator. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI with Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Infosys and Y Combinator’s non-profit research lab, Y Research. Altman, who has been one of the biggest advocates of generative AI, testified in front of members of a Senate sub-committee earlier this year, where he spoke about the need to regulate AI.

Altman also co-founded crypto project World Coin, which saw its token fall more than 13% following the news of his ouster on Friday to hit $1.91. [7]

Who is Mira Murati?

Murati has been a member of Open AI’s leadership team for the past five years. She leads the company’s research, product and safety functions and has experience in AI governance and policy. Before joining OpenAI as its chief technology officer in 2018, she was senior product manager of the Model X at Tesla.

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